Update June 20 : Police attack and arrest demonstrators-State crushing a democratic movement


Massive Lathicharge on Nonadanga protesters: Another example of state’s effort to crush a democratic movement


A Report by Nilanjan Dutta
The day before, police said they would not permit any rally at Esplanade by the evicted people from Nonadanga.
On the morning of 20 June, they did not object when the rally was held and allowed the 200-odd participants to occupy the ‘Y Channel’, which is actually a narrow strip of land beside a huge garbage vat between the main tram and bus stations at Esplanade. Of late, this highly inconvenient and acutely stinking spot seems to have been earmarked to accommodate all the ‘non-mainstream’ demonstrators who are no better than garbage in the eyes of the administration.
As the public meeting went on, at one stage the police brought an offer from the Writers’ Buildings that the minister in charge would meet the committee delegation on 26 June. The assembly discussed the matter instantly and agreed to disperse on the basis of this assurance, if the authorities agreed to clear the outlets of the settlement field at Nonadanga that had been blocked by raising a boundary wall. This was causing tremendous inconvenience for the residents.
The police messengers went to convey this to the minister but came back with the message that he had now said he would meet the delegates on 3 July instead of 26 June.
The protesters became restive and demanded an early appointment.
Again, a vague assurance came that the appointment would be advanced, without specifying any date.
The people decided they would not leave until the government made a commitment on the date of the talks. There was no further communication from the latter, but not a rejection of the demand either.
Late in the evening, police officers even came and inquired with the activists whether they planned to stay at the spot for the night and paternalistically talked about the necessity of arranging “protection” as there were so many women among them.
And Suddenly There Was The Lathi Charge.
The wounded were initially herded into the central lock-up at the Kolkata Police headquarters along with the others. They were taken to the Calcutta Medical College Hospital only after their co-prisoners raised a hue and cry inside the lock-up particularly after seeing Sanjay Mandal, a committee member from Nonadanga, writhing in pain before them and from the outside, APDR members began to intervene and express concern to high-ranking police officials calling for urgent medical attention.
The officers though still denied that there was any lathi charge at all!
Earlier report –
Since 11am, residents of Nonadanga started a roadside demonstration/dharna in the Esplanade area. It is being reported that the police carried out a massive lathicharge on the dharna and several persons had to be admitted to Medical College for treatment. While negotiations were going on about when the concerned minister can give an appointment to hear about the grievances, police started picking up certain selected activists at around 8pm and then lathicharged to disperse the rest. Around 40 persons have been arrested including Amitabha Bhattacharya (the chairman of the Uchched Pratirodh Committee) and Samik Chakraborty (who is also an activist of Sanhati).



Massive Lathicharge on Nonadanga protesters: Another example of state’s effort to crush a democratic movement :- 


Today, Kolkata police had carried out a massive and brutal lathicharge on the Nonadanga slum-dwellers & mass activists who were in a demonstration protest at Esplanade,Kolkata. All the protesters were heavily beaten up including women & children.
The protesters started their demonstration against the forceful eviction of Nonadanga slum & also against the recent attack on the slum-dwellers by the goons backed by TMC.
In spite of all these incidents and police brutality, any media, be it electronic or print, has totally blacked out any news and update about the ongoing movement in Nonadanga and hasn’t reported any of these incidents.
At near about 8 p.m., police started to pick up selected mass activists who were in the movement from the very beginning & then brutally lathicharged to disperse the rest of the protestors.
Many of the protesters were admitted to the hospital while 6 of them were seriously injured & is reported in a very serious condition.
Around 40 protesters are being arrested along with Shamik Chakraborty (activist of Mazdoor Kranti Parishad),Amitabha Bhattacharya (president of anti-eviction committee, Nonadanga) & others.
This is clear that the state govt. don’t want to hear any voice of protest & criticism. This brutal attack on these protesters has clearly exposed the autocratic and authoritarian state machinery which is fiercely trying to silent any voice of protest.


Stand firm in the face of state repression.
Come together to protest this fascist trend of the govt.
Demand immediate unconditional release of all the prisoners who have been arrested illegally with forged cases. 
Join the movement against the forceful eviction of Nonadanga
Reject the development model where common people are expended in order to raise corporate profit    

Editor of Towards New Dawn Abhijnan Sarkar and several other activists like Deblina Chakrabarty are arrested on 8th April 2012, when they were protesting against an eviction drive of slum dwellers by state officials at Nonadanga, Kolkata. They are framed with several false charges and put under detention till now. Towards New Dawn demands unconditional release of its editor and all other activists.- contact at towardsdawn@gmail.com

Read more news here

Immediate Release- Evicting the Poor at EWS Quarters, Ejipura, Bangalore


Press Release

 

Evicting the Poor at EWS Quarters, Ejipura, Bangalore

 

PUCL-Bangalore strongly condemns the illegitimate move by BBMP to

forcefully evict residents of the Economically Weaker Section (EWS) slum in Ejipura, Koramangala by switching off their water supply, blocking their common toilet facilities and  not collecting garbage – which is now piling up there.

 

In a Public Private Partnership (PPP) with Maverick Holdings Ltd, BBMP exchanged eight of the fifteen acres of the original EWS land, for construction of 1640 quarters for the community. What makes this deal unacceptable to the current residents is that these are for allotment only to the original residents of the BBMP quarters, which were razed to ground by the authorities when one of the buildings collapsed.

 

Most of the beneficiaries under the current scheme no longer reside in the EWS slums; the poorest and needy, who currently live there, do not qualify for any benefits from the state, even when evicted and their homes razed.


In the context of forceful evictions of slum dwellers, Supreme Court has ruled that right to shelter is a part of right to life, enshrined by Article 21 of our constitution. PUCL demands that state run organisations, like BBMP, not resort to draconian means to render our poorest shelter-less. PUCL further demands that BBMP exhibit some constitutional responsibility and make immediate provisions, within the current plan, to also house all those whom it desires it evict – namely, all the current dwellers of EWS quarters.

Arati Chokshi
General Secretary,
PUCL-BLR

Debolina starts hunger strike in jail


KOLKATA, april 14, TNN : Arrested activist Debolina Chakraborty has started hunger strike in the CID custody on Friday to support the Nonadanga movement. Six other jailed activists will also start fasting from Saturday. Other political prisoners in different jails, too, have decided to start hunger strike to show their solidarity towards the Nonadanga evictees.

Meanwhile, a Left Front delegation met the fasting activists at Nonadanga, adding fuel to the movement. The CPI team, led by former mayor in council Farjana Chowdhury, extended support to the anti-eviction activists. “We will bring the matter to the notice of the proper authority and feel that none should be evicted without proper rehabilitation,” said Farjana Chowdhury.

Left Front’s involvement in the Nonadanga movement, however, led Trinamool Congress to show their political strength. Later in the day, KMC councillor Ratan De and party’s students leader Shanku Deb Ponda took out a rally and and campaigned in favour of the eviction. The Trinamool leaders asked other locals to drive away the outsiders who are camping at Nonadanga.

But the agitators refused to give up. “We will continue our fast till the government sends us a positive feeler,” said Amitava Bhattacharya, one of the fasting activists. Trinamool MP Kabir Suman is likely to meet the fasting activists at Nonadanga on Saturday.

Rally for Nonadanga prevented, more than hundred arrested in Kolkata


April 9th, 2012

A rally demanding rehabilitation for evicted people in Nonadanga and release of the arrested protesters was to be held today at 1 pm at college square in Kolkata. Police prevented the rally to start even and arrested 50 men, 36 women and 7 children accompanying their mothers. They were taken away by 5 prison vans. The rest of the protesters started sit-in there in college square, in front of the Vidyasagar statue.

 

9.4.2012

Sanhati strongly condemns the detentions of seven activists, including three of its members, and the earlier detention of approximately 70 residents of the Nonadanga slum, who were conducting a peaceful demonstration at Ruby junction in protest against the eviction of hundreds of families in the Nonadanga colony in Kolkata. The arrests follow the brutal attack by the police on a rally by the evicted families at the same location on April 4th, during which several women and children were severely injured. Moreover, the arrests occured when police suddenly declared the demonstration to be illegal despite the fact that the organizers had obtained prior permission from the local police station. This turn of events amounts to a gross violation of the constitutionally guaranteed rights of the people to democratic dissent and protest.

Residents of Nonadanga were protesting against evictions from their homes on March 30th. The land in Nonadanga, which is very close to a major intersection on the E M Bypass, is a prime target of real estate developers and the current state government aims to evict the “encroachers” and make it available for “beautification”. Incidentally, Nonadanga is where slum dwellers, who were evicted from various canal banks of Kolkata, have been resettled over the past five years and hence the use of the term “encroachers” amounts to slander. In addition to putting on display the TMC government’s connivance with real estate developers, yesterday’s arrests and the clampdown on protests is part of the disturbing trend of the current government’s intolerance of dissent and the general deterioration of the democratic rights situation in West Bengal.

We urge all democratic minded people to demand the immediate and unconditional release of all the detainees with annulment of all charges, adequate and proper compensation and rehabilitation for the evicted families, and suitable punishment of all the police personnel responsible for the brutal lathicharge on April 4th.

Sanhati

In Kolkata, nine-year-old girl spends 9 hours in police lockup


KOLKATA, TNN , April 9 : After more promises of rehabilitation, the administration again cracked down on Nonadanga settlers protesting against their eviction. Police rounded up 69 agitators, including a nine-year-old girl, and locked them up at Lalbazar for nine hours on Sunday.

At night, 62 of them were released, while seven leaders of the anti-eviction movement were booked on non-bailable charges. Three days ago, urban development minister Firhad Hakim had promised to review the rehabilitation scope for Nonadanga evictees.

The seven leaders include Debolina Chakraborty, Sidhartha Gupta, Debjani Ghosh, Abhigyan Sarkar, Partha Sarathi Roy, Shamik Chakraborty and Amal Chatterjee. While Shamik and Amal are activists of Mazdoor Kranti Parishad, the others belong to different mass organizations.

On Sunday morning, shanty dwellers of Nonadanga assembled near Ruby crossing off EM Bypass to demand rehabilitation of the evicted squatters. “It was a scheduled programme and we had informed Kolkata Police well in advance,” said Shamik Chakraborty, one of the leaders of Nonadanga Uchhed Birodhi Committee – the anti-eviction forum fighting for rehabilitation of the squatters.

The demonstration began around 10am. It was being held away from the main thoroughfare, so there was no chance of traffic disruption, claimed the organizers.

Shortly before noon, a large police force, led by deputy commissioner Basab Dasgupta, visited the spot and reportedly asked the agitators to leave at once.

“We refused to give in. But they forced us to stop. They pushed us into the prison van and dispersed the gathering by chasing the protesters,” said Abhay, another leader of the forum.

Debolina Chakraborty, one of the organizers, said that initially they were taken to Tiljala police station and then to the central lockup at the Lalbazar police headquarters.

“Police arrested 69 of us including 39 women and a child of nine years,” said Parag Banerjee, one of the agitators. Police denied detaining the child and said 61 people had been held.

Confusion has taken place over the number of the arrest as DC SSD Sujay Chanda said, “We have arrested 61 persons under 151 IPC (considered as preventive arrest) and the case was registered at Kasba police station.” He denied that nine-year-old Monika Kumari Shaw was arrested. TOI, however, confirmed that the child was in the lockup with her mother till 9pm with all other arrested agitators.

At night, police released 62 of the detainees on personal release bond, but they booked seven leaders in connection with a case registered at Tiljala police station on Wednesday.

On that afternoon, six persons – including an 18-month-old infant – were injured in a lathicharge on a rally of the evictees. “These seven persons have been arrested under Sections 143,149,332,341,342 353 of IPC which suggests that they had provoked people in wrongful activity, assembled illegally, and wrongfully restrained and resisted policemen,” said a senior officer. The forum however claimed that Sarkar, Debjani and Partha Sarathi Roy were not present in Wednesday’s rally.

Amitava Bhattacharya, secretary of Mazdoor Kranti Parishad, condemned the arrest. “It was a peaceful assembly and it was an announced programme. It’s a fascist step taken by the government to gag the voice of democratic protest,” said Bhattacharya.

The forum has decided to march from College Square to Writers’ Buildings on Monday. Rights organizations like APDR and Bandi Mukti Committee and USDF have said they will join the rally. “We strongly condemn the arrest,” said Choton Das, secretary Bandi Mukti Committee.

State government perhaps in a bid to take strong arm policy against the Nonadanga anti-eviction movement. Despite an assurance from state urban development minister Firhad Hakim on Thursday to review the rehabilitation scope of the evictees, on Sunday once again police operation was conducted against the agitating evictees. Cops rounded up 69 agitators including a nine-year-old girl and put them in Lalbazar Central lock up till late evening since noon.

Later at night cops released 62 among them but rounded up seven leaders of the movement in stringent non-bailable charges.latter two are known activists of Mazdoor Kranti Parishad then previous five are from different mass organizations.

Appeal for Action- Forcible Eviction in Nonadanga, Kolkata


On 30th March  Kolkata Metropolitan Development Authority (KMDA) evicted close to hundred huts in Nonadanga, near EM Bypass in Kolkata. Interestingly, this new township is made up of rehabilitated people from all over Kolkata, who have been evicted since the Globalization started ousting poor people from important parts of the city. Thousands of evicted people live there in numerous 10 ft by 12 ft or smaller sized ‘flats’.

As the rural south Bengal is reeling under crisis in agriculture, A lot of villagers are coming to Kolkata in search of casual menial jobs to earn there livelihoods. Thus new slums are being born everyday, here and there in the city. Then comes the rampant eviction drives by Government, without any kind of rehabilitation in most of the cases. It is to note here that eviction without providing any rehabilitation can not be done, according to the new policy adopted by Central Government, which is, in turn, a long told demand by NGOs and activists dealing with evictions. But it appears that neither KMDA, nor the State Government care for this.

Nonadanga, being a rehabilitation place for evicted poor in the City, attracted a lot of poor people migrated from south Bengal. The influx has risen since 2009-10, while AILA, a super cyclone struck south Bengal and left the villages ruined and cultivation impossible as salty sea water, carried by cyclone, entered into the villages and fields. This has become an added plight to the villagers of south Bengal who are already at stress due to continuous crisis in agriculture. Migration from villages, which was already started, took a giant leap and more than 25 percent people left south Bengal for various cities in India, including Kolkata. A lot of them came to Nonadanga, hoping that an eviction drive would not happen in a neighbourhood which is full of rehabilitated people. More than fifty makeshift huts have been erected in front of the rehabilitation flats. A neighbourhood was born barely a year ago, named ‘Majdoor Colony’. The colony has got a neighbour ‘Lake Colony’, which was born a couple of years back. People evicted from other places in the city and who didn’t get the ‘rehabilitation flats’ made up this Colony.

There are a lot of self-made colonies in Nonadanga, acting as unofficial refuge to the evicted people in Kolkata and for those who are coming in the city from villages. Many a lot has been evicted already, as the Nonadanga township will not remain as a rehabilitation township but would act as an extension of the city of Kolkata; hence a lot of factories are being built there. Unofficial and self made rehabilition colonies would be evicted one after another — the news has been in the air in Nonadanga for months now.

Barely a week ago, KMDA evicted a number of makeshift shops adjacent to the EM Bypass road to facilitate extension of the road. A new wave of eviction in Nonadanga has become imminent as KMDA came along with 7 vans of police force and told people to leave ‘Majdoor Colony’ a couple of days back. People resisted on that day, successfully. Yesterday, minister of Urban Developement, Firhad Hakim came and told that a couple of colonies would be evicted on the next day. Police vans, Bulldozers arrived.

Morning starts with a resistance from habitats, which lasted for two hours, until Police started repression by arresting 7 women (unconfirmed) and setting off fire in some huts. To note here, putting slum  huts into fire is a long used technique by Kolkata Police during eviction. But nobody can blame them as they always decline the accusation and use local goons or plain clothed police personnel to do that. Fire put out the resistance today. Eviction in Majdoor Colony went on smoothly thereafter. Another smaller colony, named ‘Subhash Pally’ is waiting for eviction today.

  Ground report by —Shamik Sarkar

For regular updates on the issue

 Contact-  Nonadanga sananda dashgupta 8296461095, Sutanaya chakrabarty 9433092338


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